the bronchiolitis virus is the last straw for the “perfect epidemiological storm”

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The pandemic ended in a handful of days in March 2022. Those that passed between the time when the monitoring services of the national health system began to see that something was moving and the flu burst into our lives with increasing incidence “almost vertical” That was not “normal”, the problem is that we did not know that it was going to be “normal” from that moment on.

Now we know something else. In the worst possible way.

The epidemiological chaos that the pandemic left us. As we explained in March, before the pandemic “our annual appointment with the flu began around the month of January, reached its maximum in February and died in March.” There could be variations: epidemics that were early or late, but the pattern was more or less the same.

It wasn’t the only weird thing that happened. A few months earlier, in the summer of 2020, positivity for the respiratory syncytial virus skyrocketed in all countries of the world. Until then, RSV was a winter virus.

The great question. This post-pandemic chaos generated a lot of uneasiness among specialists. They were not clear about what was going to happen from now on. Would the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 cause a reorganization of all the annual epidemics and force us to resize health resources? Or, wouldn’t the lifting of social distance measures lead to what we could call “the perfect epidemiological storm”?

What does a winter virus like you do in a summer like this: many respiratory diseases that disappeared during 2020 begin to appear on unexpected dates

We begin to have answers and they are not reassuring. The answers, in recent days, have come in the form of respiratory viruses. A lots of. They have come back with such force and have reached such high incidences that experts are already beginning to talk about a triple epidemic in which COVID, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) come together.

The bronchiolitis virus. RSV, the main cause of childhood bronchiolitis, is precisely the one that has caused the most surprise because “it is saturating pediatric emergencies throughout the national territory, including the Canary Islands, with an increase of up to 40% compared to what we had in 2019, before the pandemic”, explained Paula Vázquezpresident of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Emergencies.

It is true that most cases they are not serious: but the trend is very worrying because, in the face of such a marked increase in incidence, “in the end there are always serious cases, and in fact, the hospitalization and ICU wards are full, especially in the smaller hospitals,” he says vazquez.

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What’s going on? In principle, everything seems to indicate that these years of low incidence have meant that the number of immunized children is much lower than usual. Before the pandemic, the annual waves of RSV left an ‘immunological residue’ that acted as an epidemiological wall, stopped epidemics and, in addition, helped children have more defenses. Now, there are two or three generations that face RSV without immunity of any kind and the number of cases skyrockets (it is the accumulated number of previous years).

That is what is turning the entire system upside down: too many children with bronchiolitis, too many adults with flu and covid, too few health resources. And again, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We are talking about winter respiratory viruses and the truth is that, in the best of cases, the meteorological winter has only just begun. What will happen in January? Will we have a health system on the brink of collapse again? These are questions that are on the table and that unfortunately we cannot answer.

Image | kelly sikkema

The pandemic ended in a handful of days in March 2022. Those that passed between the time when the monitoring…

The pandemic ended in a handful of days in March 2022. Those that passed between the time when the monitoring…

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